New Materials Development Group

Developing functional materials by leveraging supramolecularity

Group Leader
Professor Motohiro Mizuno
Fields of Specialty
nanostructure chemistry, functional physical chemistry
solid-state property, magnetic resonance, solid state NMR, supramolecule

The concept of supramolecules (the construction of new structures through the weak interaction of multiple molecules) was advocated by the Nobel Chemistry Prize winner Jean-Marie Lehn.
Our group advances the development of functional materials that utilize supramolecularity.
Although liquids have traditionally been the main focus of materials development using supramolecules, the group is characterised by its focus on solid-state materials from a practical perspective and the analysis of materials’ structural properties and dynamics through solid-state NMR, and feedback for material design.

One example of the group’s research is the development of solid-state porous ring supramolecules with precisely controlled nano-spaces inside materials. These can be used as molecule-selective occluding materials that collect only harmful gases or useful energy materials such as hydrogen from the atmosphere.
 We are also involved in the development of solid-state proton conductors, which are expected to be used in fuel cells. We successfully synthesized a highly conductive solid-state electrolyte by arranging organic molecules containing protons (H+) within regular nanopores created in a solid body. Through this we have also succeeded in analyzing the proton conduction mechanism at the molecular level using the solid-state NMR method.

By creating an assembly of molecules within a solid-state material, the group is also pioneering a completely new research concept realizing stimulation-responsive solid-states. When low molecular material is dissolved into high polymer elastomer and the elastomer is stimulated through pulling, etc, it changes in color or emits light.

From research close to practical application, to more challenging themes, our field is broadening greatly.